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‘The First Adventure of Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet’ GN (review)

Written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Art by Vincent Mallié
Published by Magnetic Press


As such, the book itself is beyond review at this stage.

Sherlock Holmes is deeply embedded as a part of both the cultural and pop cultural firmament.

I was given a copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes for Christmas in 1976 and while I did eventually skip around, I started with A Study in Scarlet so I’ve read it before.

To say this introductory volume isn’t quite up to some of his later stories is totally moot, as it serves well its function as an introduction to the characters the world would come to revere so much.

So what we’re really looking at here for review in this newly illustrated version of that first Sherlockian book, entitled The First Adventure of Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet, is the work of one Vincent Mallié, the illustrator.

The Internet tells me that the celebrated French artist was only three when I received my Holmes book back in the day. Starting with his cover, much of Mallié’s art is steeped in browns and golds. The cover depicts a cartoonier version of our two protagonists than one is used to seeing. The fact that both men are quite young-looking is a bit of a surprise but perfectly in keeping with the texts.

The book is not told in comics-style but is heavily illustrated, with lots of lovely little black and white sketches, mixed with the full-color pages mostly maintaining the brown and gold color scheme.

Holmes is consistently drawn as straight and stoic, at times looking vaguely like Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock. (Ironically, Leonard Nimoy played Holmes on stage.) The flashback section of the story set in Utah offers some of the best artwork.

The murder plot of A Study in Scarlet has been deemed anti-Mormon but Doyle denied this, saying he never meant to depict all Mormons in the ways he depicts the ones in the story.

In the end, the plot here isn’t as important as the story’s style, and of course, the story’s heroes.

Doyle brought them to life in this book…and Vincent Mallié brings us a fun, fresh visual interpretation in this new edition.

Booksteve recommends.

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